Referral Marketing, also known as “Word of Mouth” can be a steady source of renewable business month after month.  Creating a successful referral marketing strategy starts with ideas that makes sense – not those which just “trough around a word or two” – in hindsight.

Those word-of-mouth referrals are still the best practice marketing method because they are trusted, valuable and, put simply, they work. However, it is hard to measure effectiveness and it can take a long time to build just a handful of new customers. Whereas word-of-mouth is spontaneous and unstructured, referral marketing for professionals has become an organized set of strategies that stimulate, encourage and measure these word-of-mouth referrals. With referral marketing, you will get the results you want faster.

Below are some really good techniques anyone looking for referrals can use/

Create an offer that’s hard to say no to.  Make sure that your offering is compelling and valuable to your customers. If your customers don’t find value in your program, then they won’t refer.

Stage an opportunity for prospects to try your products and services. Customers know that you have options or upgrades on your products and services but don’t always feel the need to try them out.  Why not offer a trial upgrade when they refer new business to you?

Market and publicise the referral program. The best referral program in the world won’t help your referral efforts if no one knows about it. Get the word out to customers through regular awareness campaigns, and by including links to your referral program whenever you contact customers via email, product brochures, your website, and social marketing channels. The more customers you have enrolled in your referral program, the more successful it will be.

Be memorable. Your customer’s experience has to be memorable whether they are a new client or a loyal follower.  That is what makes a business referrable to start.  If your customer experience is average or sub-par, you can forget about people talking about your business at all.

Make referring easy. Make sure that your program supports a variety of referral channels including social, email, mobile and face-to-face. Over 80% of referrals are made in person, and yet most referral marketing products on the market today don’t offer a solution to track and measure these offline conversations

Personalise it. The real value of referrals is their personal, trusted nature. If you can refer someone face-to-face or even just allow them the privilege of hearing your voice over the phone, then that will surely beat any old email introduction. Try to be where referrals happen. Studies show that 90% of all referrals happen by word of mouth, either in person or on the phone.

Reward those who refer. A thoughtful referral program rewards the fans for their referral. The trick is not to limit your thinking to discounts or gift cards. There are simple gestures that reward your brand ambassadors that deliver value and show your gratitude for their referrals.  A simple question to ask when trying to think of the right reward is to remember what it is that your ideal client values.